Before passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), President Obama made several promises to the American people in an attempt to build support for his health care plan. Among them was a promise that “nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.”
However, since the PPACA was signed into law and began down the long road of enactment, the truth has proven to be the opposite: No matter how much individuals may like their current health plan, under the new law, there’s no guarantee they can keep it. In recent Heritage research, health policy expert John Hoff explains the many ways in which this will occur. He writes:
What was proffered as an expansive political concession has been constricted and put into a legalistic straitjacket, first by the law itself, and then by confused regulations issued by the Administration. The bottom line is that all insurance plans, including coverage people already have, must meet some portions of the new law, and most plans will soon be subject to all its requirements. The President’s assurance of continuing with existing plans is essentially a dead letter for all Americans.
Hoff highlights a number of ways in which Americans are likely to see their health plans change. They might even risk losing their current plan altogether. They include:
- Provisions still apply to existing plans. Plans that were in effect before the enactment of the law are supposed to be “grandfathered in” under the new law, but they must nevertheless comply with numerous insurance regulations. This undercuts existing health insurance.
- Small insurers will exit the market. Some smaller insurers may not be able to meet the medical-loss ratio requirements, which will also apply to grandfathered plans, causing those plans to exit the market completely.
- Medicare Advantage will be cut. Under the law, funding for Medicare Advantage plans will decrease by $145 billion over the next 10 years. Lower payments to these plans will lead to a reduction in benefits or force them to leave the market altogether.
- Regulations limit application of grandfather status. Regulations after the passage of the new law will define who will qualify for grandfathered status. Those that do not qualify will be required to abide by the PPACA provisions, thus changing current plans even more drastically.
To read Hoff’s full analysis on how Obamacare will undercut the health plans Americans already like and want to keep, click here.
Amanda Rae Kronquist contributed to this post.